A in-form Real Madrid face Deportivo on Sunday in their opening La Liga game and it’s expected to be a relatively comfortable win for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Last season, Real Madrid had a very enjoyable time out against Deportivo. In the two league games they faced the la Coruna outfit, they scored 11 goals and conceded two.
In their previous nine meetings, Madrid won each one. Last seasons 6-2 is included along with an 8-2 win at the Riazor. Deportivo will be backing themselves to score in this fixture however as they scored eight in the last four games of last season – two of which were against Sunday’s opponents.
Even though this is the first game of the season, Real Madrid are coming into the fixture on the back of winning two out of six available trophies for the season already. Because of this, it is easy to tell who the ‘in-form’ team is.
Not overly reliant on the BBC anymore, Madrid are able to increasingly rely upon the likes of Asensio, Kovacic and Isco to pull the capital club out of trouble. It is these three players in particular who have been in the shining lights so far this season for Madrid and despite their ages, are potential leaders within the squad.
Deportivo, unlike Real Madrid are coming into this match without any competitive fixtures behind them. They have however, won 9 of their 11 pre-season matches, losing only once to Porto and drawing the other. Granted, these games were against poor opposition. Pre-season results does not give any indication as to how a team will perform in the league and are generally a means of the club growing commercially in foreign lands.
As mentioned above, Asensio, Kovacic and Isco are three players highlighted as being some of the best players in both pre-season and the super cup stages of the season so far. Zidane has at his disposal, an array of options to choose from including new acquisitions such as Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernandez.
Despite this, Modric will continue to be the key player for Madrid. When the Croatian is on form, the whole team plays so fluidly and attractive that it’s no wonder how Madrid have gone 68 consecutive games scoring. Benzema and Bale will be given the responsibility of finishing off the chances created by the midfield maestro. Bale is under pressure due to the form of Asensio so he will be wanting to put in a big performance.
The addition of Fabian Schar to the squad this season should add defensive solidity to the team. The Swiss international, signed from Hoffenheim adds top level experience to the side and will have to be at his very best to keep the likes of Benzema and Bale scoreless. And one (should he start) will want to recapture his form of last season where he was Deportivo’s biggest threat. He needs to add more goals to his game however and would want to start off by scoring in the Riazor against the defending champions.
For Madrid, the only major loss is Cristiano Ronaldo due to his suspension. Jesus Velljo will also miss the first match of the season due to injury. Mateo Kovacic is also expected to miss out due to a minor muscle concern as he trained indoors on Friday.
As for Deportivo, they should still have their Romanian striker Andone at the club for this match against the Spanish and European champions. Even though they rejected an offer from Burnley for the big centre forward, it is expected the Premier League club will return with another offer.
There is the possibility of him missing due to minor injury, where Adrian will step in but nothing confirmed as of yet. Deportivo will be without Emre Colak for the opening fixture due to suspension. Carles Gil won’t make the squad due to injury and Valverde won’t be able to make his La Liga debut due to being on loan from Madrid.
Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Isco, Bale, Benzema
Deportivo: Ruben; Juanfran, Schar, Sidnei, Luisinho; Guilherme, Mosquera, Borges; Bakkali, Cartabia, Andone